economicmapAnother batch of odd maps, including (to name just a few):

  • Where 29,000 Rubber Duckies Made Landfall After Falling off a Cargo Ship in the Middle of the Pacific Ocean
  • Top 10 Busiest Air Travel Routes of 2012
  • Where Google Street View is Available
  • Literal Chinese Translations for Country Names in Europe
  • Map of the World with Places Visited Colored In (tattooed onto the back and shoulders of someone who must be an incredibly committed traveler).

Different but related post: 40 Maps that Explain the World.

Here’s travel writer Jim O’Donnell’s well reasoned argument for why travelers have a responsibility to help correct economic imbalances in places they visit.

“Should foreigners pay more?

mola“That was the question back at the beginning of summer when a heated discussion ensued among travel bloggers on Facebook. At the center of the debate was the tendency of some world governments to charge foreign visitors more than locals to enter a national monument,

Wanderlust Cafe

September 16, 2013 | Leave a Comment

WanderlustcafeI met Lou Ann Granger (Physicist, Artist, Traveler) last month at the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference—and loved the images over at her Wanderlust Cafe.

JdombsI enjoyed Jdombs Travels’ 10 Fun Facts About Russia, including the number of billionaires in Moscow.


I’ve Gotta Pack!

September 2, 2013 | Leave a Comment

gottapackI met travel writer Laura Holmes at the recent Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference, and enjoyed seeing her book I’ve Gotta Pack: Fun Travel Tales that Will Get You Packing a Trip.

“Through these pages you will journey alongside the author and her travel companions as they summit Kilimanjaro in Africa, discover Machu Picchu in Peru, ski through blizzards in the Rockies, breathe in big Alaska air, get wet in Costa Rica, and relive some family adventures. You will finish the book already planning your own adventure.”


I met Allison Thomas at the recent Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers conference. Check out her blog at Adventures in International Law, which is about Allison’s journey from corporate litigator to international lawyer, including her experiences in the world of international humanitarian and human rights law, as well as her cultural experiences, observations, and blunders along the way.

sf-mapWant to see what San Francisco looked like in mid-1800s? Check out this map from the the David Rumsey Map Collection, at Online, you can scroll over a current map of San Francisco to see an underlaid sailing chart of San Francisco and its bay, made in 1859 by the fledgling US Coast Survey—very cool.

Smithsonian also has rollover maps for Washington, D.C. in 1851 (when the Lincoln Memorial site was underwater) and New York City in 1836.

What a fun way to incorporate history into stories about San Francisco, Washington, D.C., or New York City.


SmurfVillage“Juzcar has become a hotspot for worldwide travelers, and one of the most recognizable villages in Spain. Once a traditional white village, the picturesque hamlet changed its look in the summer of 2011, becoming the first and only official Smurfs village in the world.” Read more in this article by Miruna Corneanu published in Spain Attractions.

familyvagabondingI met so many inspiring travel writers at the 2013 Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference! Here’s Powell Berger’s website, FamilyVagaBonding:

“Ours is an open-ended journey of education, discovery and adventure. After more than forty countries, five continents, a few hundred thousand miles, one stolen backpack, no lost luggage (yet),  dozens of UNESCO sites, and too many spectacular moments and interminable night flights to count, we can’t imagine our life any other way.

“Family Vagabonding:  Field trips around the corner and around the globe. Getting to know our planet and the people with whom we share it. The first inklings of our family’s open-ended roadschool adventure came during…” Read the rest at You can also connect on Facebook at Family-Vagabonding.

Global Spirit TV

August 21, 2013 | Leave a Comment


I enjoyed talking with Phil Cousineau at the Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference, and was reminded about Global Spirit, the exceptional TV series he hosts. Connect with Global Spirit on Facebook, and watch it on PBS.

“Global spirit is a unique inquiry into humankind’s belief systems, wisdom traditions, and states of consciousness. Presented by British actor and writer John Cleese and hosted by author and spiritual seeker Phil Cousineau, this unique, critically-acclaimed series features renowned experts such as Karen Armstrong, Deepak Chopra, Robert Thurman, Raine Eisler, and many others. Mixing evocative film segments with deep discussion, Global spirit takes viewers on a mind and soul-expanding journey,

wp-mapsFrom racial tolerance by country to child poverty rates (the U.S. ranks 34th out of the developed world’s 35 countries in child poverty rates, above only Romania) to Chinese cancer villages, these maps from the Washington Post are a powerful tool for understanding the world.

adventuroustravelerHere’s an excellent internship opportunity—working with the legendary Don George:

“The Adventure Collection is looking for an intern who is passionate about adventure travel, social media, travel writing, photography, and blogging. Primary duties will include researching and writing bylined articles for the Adventure Collection blog and promoting the AC website and blog through social media. We are looking for a talented and passionate person who is willing to devote approximately 8-10 hours a week for 4-6 months. The intern will work closely with Don George, AC web editor in chief, and Matt Kareus, director of marketing and will receive a $500 stipend upon completion of the internship. For more information, email Don at”

overbookedThanks to journalist Suzie Rodriguez for is link to Skift’s interview with Elizabeth Becker, author of Overbooked: the Global Business of Travel and Tourism. Here’s an excerpt:

Skift: Why did you do this book now? What was the kick-in-the-pants to get it started?

Elizabeth Becker: As you know from my bio, I’ve been the foreign correspondent and an editor at National Public Radio, and reported around the world for the Washington Post and the New York Times. I’ve watched the evolution of tourism …
“… That kept happening, where I was reporting on an international economics story and some official in some foreign country would say how this was important for their tourism sector. When I tried to write about this for the Times, they said, “We have a travel section.” That’s when I saw this ghettoization of the tourism industry … no one looked [at] tourism as the industrial giant that it is.”

christchurch.pngGizmag blogger James Holloway reports that work has been completed on Christchurch’s temporary Cardboard Cathedral designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban. I’d love to see this in real life; hope it’s still there next time I get to Christchurch.

“The building was commissioned when the 6.3-magnitude Christchurch earthquake of February 2011 caused irreparable damage to Christchurch Cathedral. The cathedral is partly comprised of cardboard tubes which are a signature of Shigeru Ban’s work. Ninety-eight such tubes form decorative beams, concealing timber structural beams within. Shipping containers also figure in the cathedral’s construction.”

Don dash George

August 12, 2013 | Leave a Comment

don-georgeThe legendary Don George has joined the 21st century! Don unveiled his new website last week at the Book Passage Travel Writers Conference—which, by the way, was as fabulous as I had remembered from previous years. Because some other Don George has the URL, our Don used a hyphen: The site’s header is a lovely sketch by conference participant Candace Rose Rardon,  illustrating the major places of the heart in Don’s life.

therouxThanks for this link from travel writer Karen Misuraca. Karen says, “At Book Passage the other night, in front of packed house, Paul Theroux (interviewed by Don George) waxed philosophical as he talked at length about his latest book The Last Train to Zona Verde: My Ultimate African Safari; about his 50 years of sojourns in Africa and his view of the continent, politically and socially, today. If you missed it, you’ll hear a similar conversation from last week on Forum. Among his many bits of advice: ‘If you want to be a writer, go away, far, far away.’”

Love this article by Richard Bangs for the Huffington Post about the origins—and possibly the future—of adventure travel. A few of my favorite sections of the article:

  • Thomas Cook—the Richard Branson of his day—[wrote that] adventure travel “provides food for the mind; it contributes to the strength and enjoyment of the intellect; it helps pull men out of the mire and pollution of old corrupt customs; it promotes a feeling of universal brotherhood; it accelerates the march of peace and virtue, and love; it also contributes to the health of the body, by a relaxation from the toil and the invigoration of the physical powers.”

“Without ever leaving their home, Mark and Deb Bennett can spend a few nights in Copenhagen. And Italy. And even Antarctica. Between 2011 and 2012, their residence on the high seas sailed to the seven continents, where adventures included visiting a tropical rain forest and watching walruses in the wild…. The Bennetts own one of the 165 private residences aboard the World, a luxury ocean liner that lets its residents spend their lives at sea.”  Dawn Wotapka explains in Home on the High Seas for The Wall Street Journal.

iraqCitizen-journalist Kelly Hayes-Raitt wants to see for herself, so she’s traveling to Iraq to find out. Read more at her website, Once there, if you donate $5 towards her expenses, you’ll have access to the behind-the-scenes blogs and interviews Kelly will be posting live from Beirut and Baghdad this summer.


contestsCheck out Free Travel Contests, “home of one of the web’s largest collection of active travel contests.”

“Through this site, we hope to bring you dozens of current promotions from around the world for you to enter to maximize your chances to win great travel related prizes including trips, hotel packages, gear, money, and more! As this site is a dynamic and constantly updating contest listing, check back frequently for more contests or subscribe to our mailing list on the sidebar to be notified when new contests are added!

Here’s what they have listed for contests with July, 2013 deadlines:

underwater2Polish architectural and deep-sea engineering company Deep Ocean Technology has inked a deal with Ridgewood Hotels and Suites Pvt. Ltd. to build its futuristic part-underwater Water Discus Hotel just off the shore of Kuredhivaru Island in the Maldives. The upper part of the structure will allow guests to take advantage of all that the local climate has to offer, while the submerged disc will offer the chance to relax with the marine life of the Indian Ocean.

“Hey, wanderlusters and wanderlistas … the Travel section unveils What a Trip, a new feature that’s all about you and your rambles around the world. For this column, you’re the travel writer, telling us about your adventures. Ready to share a recent fabulous foray? Starting this weekend, fill out the What a Trip form with your best memories and finest moments. Trips must have been taken within the past year. Send us some photographs, of yourself and of your destination. Be creative and send your best beauty shots! Each week, we’ll select an entry to feature online and possibly in print (space permitting). Thanks in advance for sharing, and happy travels!”


Peter Greenberg’s Travel Detective Blog offers a list of ten practices good travel writers should avoid. My favorite? Number 4:

4. They Are More Focused on the Destination Than the Experience

Do I really want to read another piece about Astounding Amsterdam, Lovely London, Beautiful Brazil? Gag me. Rarely does a piece that just sings the majesty of a destination actually convince me to go there. But an article that takes me into a bazaar and describes how a shopkeeper haggled with me for 40 minutes before offering up tea, his life story and the best place to eat in town? Book me on the next flight out to that city.


Stray Boots is … one product in a wave of new travel programs and promotions that are using game theory to win over customers …. Tour operators like Expedia are incorporating avatars and trivia contests into the browsing and booking process. Tourism offices in Pennsylvania and Illinois are proffering exclusive Foursquare badges to those who check in at sites in their states. Museums are using portable multimedia players to make walking through their collections feel a bit like being in a multiplayer video game…

Thanks to Karen Misuraca for this link to an artist’s representation of how popular tourist destinations will look post-climate change (under 25 feet of water).southbeach Here’s South Beach:

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